The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, has clarified the government’s new process of sending patients who cannot be treated in Samoa to India.
He has moved to assure the arrangement is much cheaper than the current one where patients are sent to New Zealand.
The new process, according to Leausa, follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Fortis Hospital in India and the government on 4 March 2017.
He said Fortis Hospital is the second most technologically-advanced hospital in the world.
“Overseas Medical Treatment is an ongoing health financing issue,” Leausa told the Sunday Samoan.
“The high cost of overseas treatment and limited resources of the Government through the Ministry of Health and the National Health Services has meant the Government has to look at Alternative Services, or options for Overseas Treatment.
“The arrangements and the processes for sending patients to India follow the Overseas Treatment Scheme policies.”
Leausa said although this is a new process the procedures and eligibility screening remains the same.
The M.O.U offers the opportunity for two “high risk” patients to be able to travel to India for medical treatment.
“The costs for each patient vary depending on the treatment the patient will receive,” said Leausa.
“The costs also include the patient’s stay in India, meals and after treatment care while the patient is assessed for full recovery before returning to Samoa.
“The costs for the two patients have saved Samoa fifty percent of the cost for the two patients if they were sent to New Zealand.
“The costs for treatment of the two patients if it was to be done in New Zealand are for the treatment alone.
“The number of patients to be sent will depend on Samoa and following the criteria for overseas treatment screening and selection.
“Patients will be accommodated and treated upon arrival into Delhi. There will be no waiting time.”
But that’s not all.
The deal includes doctors from the Fortis Hospitals travelling to Samoa to conduct surgeries together with local doctors.
“This will give our local doctors the opportunity to work alongside their Indian colleagues to perform the much-needed surgeries in Samoa for our people.
“Specialists in other disciplines like ear, nose and throat will also be available to conduct surgeries in Samoa for our people. We will expand to other areas when the process is well established.”
Last week, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the arrangement is a win-win situation for Samoa.
“The people’s lives is very important, and having the best health services locally remains a top priority for the government,” Tuilaepa said.
“We look to raise the percentage of patient that can be treated locally as stated in our Samoa Development Strategy 2016/17-2019/20 and the new arrangement will benefit the people of Samoa tremendously with the opportunity of referred patients getting the best treatments overseas, and the exposure of our medical staffs to professional medical specialists that will be working locally-it will enhance the level of understanding and skills for our medical people.
“The partnership between the two countries will allow the performance of medical services that’s not available around our region at a cost-effective arrangement.”